“Second-generation” electric pick-up truck will “revolutionise America’s truck,” according to an official statement.
Ford has indicated that a successor to its electric F-150 Lightning pick-up will arrive in 2025 as the production version of the newly announced Project T3.
“Project T3 is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to revolutionise America’s truck,” Ford CEO Jim Farley said in a statement announcing its development.
The F-series pick-ups are widely acknowledged to be “America’s truck”, given the F-150 has topped the US’s new car sales chart for more than four decades.
Farley also detailed how the T3 will major on practicality. He said: “[Satirist] PJ O’Rourke once described American pickups as ‘a back porch with an engine attached’. Well, this new truck is going to be like the Millennium Falcon [from Star Wars] – with a back porch attached.”
It will be built at Ford’s Blueoval City facility – planned to open in 2025 – which is currently being constructed in collaboration with South Korean battery firm SK On.
The $5.6 billion (AUD$8.42bn) plant is scheduled to produce around 500,000 electric trucks annually, doing so using only carbon-free electricity and carbon-free heating.
Battery cells and packs will also be assembled on site, saving the financial and environmental costs of shipping them from South Korea or China, for example.
Producing the batteries in the US means Ford can take advantage of tax credits provided by the Inflation Reduction Act.
Farley said on Ford’s third-quarter earnings call that this had the biggest potential impact on Ford’s customers and business – cutting battery costs by about $45 (AUD$68) per kWh. For reference, the world’s cheapest EV battery (made by Chinese firm CATL) reportedly costs $134/kWh (AUD$201).
The production process for the T3 will be “equally breakthrough”, according to Farley, with “radical simplicity, cost efficiency and quality technology that will make Blueoval City the modern-day equivalent of Henry Ford’s Rouge factory.”
Tesla is widely regarded as a leader in EV production thanks in part to its Giga Press machine, which allows it to cast large, complex metal panels, speeding up production. According to a report from Reuters, the firm is able to produce a Model Y in 10 hours – roughly three times faster than rival EVs.
Ford has yet to fully detail what developments it has made in vehicle production, but it confirmed that Project T3 is being designed in tandem with Blueoval City – requiring a 30% smaller production area than traditional plants, but with greater output.
The current F-150 Lightning launched last year is based on the current-generation internal-combustion F-150, which went on sale in 2021. Given its relative immaturity in the wider car market, it is unlikely that the T3 will directly replace it – but it may be a similar proposition aimed at capturing market share in an increasingly competitive segment.
General Motors-owned rivals Chevrolet and GMC are both launching mainstream electric pick-ups in the coming years – the Silverado EV and Sierra EV, respectively.